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Friday The Shinkenchiku Library

Book I, Chapter 2: Architecture of the Shōwa Era - The Status Between 1931 to 1937

The Shinkenchiku Library is a weekly series on au-magazine that introduces out-of-print publications from the 96-year-old Shinkenchiku-Sha archive. In this post, we kick off Chapter 2 of Architecture of the Shöwa Era (published in 1977, written by Hiroshi Sasaki). This chapter focuses on the situations that took place between 1931 to 1937, and is divided into 4 sections.

In the fall of 1930, Shinkenchiku-sha moved its headquarters from Osaka to Tokyo. At the time, Tokyo was active in various reconstruction projects following the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake. This provided the magazine with many coverage opportunities.

From the issue of January 1931 onwards, the style of Shinkenchiku was also changed. Horizontal writing was now used (as opposed to the traditional vertical writing), and introductions of architectural works were now specified as the focal element of the magazine. This was carried out in hopes to strengthen the character of Shinkenchiku magazine.

The author, Sasaki, mentioned that the chaotic appearance of the architectural world at that time can be seen (or rather, read) from the variety of projects featured in the magazine at the time. One, in particular, was the feature introducing the losing proposal of the architect Kunio Maekawa for the “Tokyo Imperial Museum” Competition (presently known as Tokyo National Museum). The purpose of such an editorial was to create a forum for discussion.

To read the original text excerpt (in Japanese), please visit